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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > Issue 279 > Not all moonlight and roses

Not all moonlight and roses

A BRILLIANT NEW FILM REVEALS THE AND BLACK IN THE USA — AND THE PAINFUL SCARS THEY CAN LEAVE
STAYING AFLOAT: Alex Hibbert as young Chiron, with Mahershala Ali as drug dealer Juan

FILMS THAT TELL THE STORY of gay men or black men — let alone black gay men — are few and far between. To say the least. But the second feature by director Barry Jenkins, who made his debut with Medicine for Melancholy more than eight years ago, opens in the UK in February. It is being lauded by critics, many of whom are already calling it the best film of the year.

Even Madonna gave a rare Instagram shout out for it. Not is it just the film of the year, it is a masterpiece that may just be the most powerful film of the past 10 years. And it’s about us.

Moonlight is the story of a young black boy growing up in an environment that tells him it is not OK to be who he is, and the consequences of that experience.

There has never been a film about a black gay man that has received this much attention and touched audiences in a way that the Hollywood rule book would suggest it couldn’t. But touching audiences it is.

There is huge power in its portrayal of life for African American men in modern-day USA and in its portrait of toxic masculinity, drug addiction, the importance of male role models and the relationship between a mother and her son. But what Moonlight is also about, at its core, is the destructive power of gay shame, something I wrote about in my book Straight Jacket. It feels as if these conversations have finally broken through — and not before time.

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About Attitude

Dustin Lance Black, Academy Award winning writer and creator of the exciting new TV series When We Rise, is on the cover of the latest issue of Attitude. Elsewhere in this issue: exclusive interview with the cast and creators of Moonlight, one of the most powerful gay films ever. Pop minx Bebe Rexha is ready to take over music. A special report on Kiev, Ukraine and whether it’s ready – and safe – for Eurovision. Travel issue special featuring New York, Ibiza, Paris, Fort Lauderdale, and more. PLUS: ‘Made in LA’, your FREE guide to Los Angeles.
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